If people ask me what my favorite destination is, my answer has been “Japan” ever since I visited years ago! It made such a big impression on me that it stayed at the top of that list. The culture, food, shopping, nature, it has the whole package. So when the opportunity with Cathay Pacific arose, I took it with both hands.
I went there for 7 days (which is way too short), and documented everything in a daily vlog on IGTV. You will find these videos in this post and I wrote down all my recommendations for things to see, do and eat. Definitely tick off a few from this list when you’re in Tokyo!
What to do
This experience was next level sightseeing! Together with a group of our friends we got into our kawaii onesies and hopped on the kart tour. We chose the tour of the Tokyo Tower. It was such a fun way to explore the streets of Tokyo between the traffic. There are many tours available that bring you to different sightseeing marks throughout the city.
Note: you need your international driving licence!
Tokyu Plaza is located between the crossing of Omotesando, and the shopping district of Harajuku. The entrance is definitely an eyecatcher as you are surrounded by mirrors that have this abstract kaleidoscopic look. Furthermore, the department store has about seven floors. Go up to the top floor (7th floor) to enjoy a free viewpoint over the city at the Starbucks rooftop.
Samsung present the Galaxy Experience, a free of charge, interactive concept, where you can experience the brand in an multisensory environment. On the fourth floor, for example, you can create your own virtual reality trip. I was most amazed by the “Infinity Room” where your Instagram account was analyzed in one minute to display on many of screens.
This museum was so impressive. We had so much fun discovering digital art experiences. As you can see my drawing came to life in just seconds! I am curious what the future holds for innovative experiences, they are just so memorable and fun. I featured this museum in my top 9 must visit museums in the world, be sure to check it out!
There are two Teamlabs in Tokyo. We went to Teamlab Borderless because most people recommended this one over Teamlab Planets. But surely both worth your time!
The Giant Sky Wheel in Palette Town is located in Tokyo’s Odaiba district. It is 115 meters tall and is the second tallest Ferris wheel in Japan. After a day of discovering the area it was so nice to see this wonderful view. The entrance admission of The Giant Sky Wheel is ¥1000.
Akihabara is a popular district and the centre for modern Japanese pop culture. The center of entertainment as you can visit many places where you can have fun. You can find anything from video games, anime, manga and electronics. You can find unique cafes here such as maidcafes.
On the famous intersection, we tested the “long exposure” feature of the iPhone 11 without a tripod. How cool is that?!
SHIBUYA SCRAMBLE SQUARE
At the Scramble Square on the 47th floor (230 meters high) you can enjoy the memorable view of Shibuya and the most famous intersection of the world. We went during sunset, my favorite time of the day. If you are lucky, it is possible to have a glimpse of Mount Fuji if the weather is clear. By night the city lights turn on and the view is mesmerizing.
Tip: book your ticket online with a time slot to avoid queuing. Once you’re inside, you can take your to take in the view, because there is no time limit.
Where to shop
When you visit Tokyo, it is a must to visit Harajuku, the most famous district in Shibuya. It is the center of fashion and entertainment. Harajuku is an area full of shopping areas, fun cafes and restaurants, entertainment and you can spot the famous Harajuku girls (maybe you know “them” from Gwen Stefanie).
We visited Alice, a store that reproduced the world of Alice in Wonderland. It has three floors where you could explore different spaces through multiple doors to keep guessing where the road leads. Explore the Harajuku area and you will find these amazing surprises.
If you love thrifting you need to check out Tokyo’s heavenly vintage stores. When I entered Amore Vintage and Vintage QOO located in Omotesando I found such rare items.
The whole interior and décor was adorable to look at. It is not necessarily cheaper than shopping online at Vestiaire Collective for example, but here you will find rare collectors’ items. Book at least some time to poke around the Omotesando area, where you can find amazing shopping boutiques.
I have never seen so many (Hermes) Birkins bags together in my life. It was a little “Halleluja” moment! I have never seen such a wide collection of vintage designer bags like: Hermes, Chanel, Fendi, Louis Vuitton (and much more).
What to eat
According to the reviews we read online, the cheesecake from GAZTA was worth standing in line for. When we arrived it appeared to be a very small shop, so they let two buyers in at a time. You will be welcomed by a staff member who will also personally escort you out to give you the cheesecake and a bow greeting. The cheesecake is definitely worth the wait, yet personally I missed a crunchy base.
The donuts from Hocus Pocus are truly magical! They are displayed so beautifully as they almost appear fake. The donuts come in variation of experimental flavors and textures as Hocus Pocus calls themselves a donut laboratory. They use different techniques such as frying, baking and steaming their donuts. In combination with their coffee it was a delicious, sweet moment of the day.
Tsukiji was the largest wholesale fish and seafood market in the world. When this place was destroyed in an earthquake, the market got replaced and moved to a new location and it’s called Toyosu Market.
Nowadays Tsukiji is still a true ‘’food paradise’’ for people to visit. We tasted street food sashimi, octopus, the most delicious matcha (matcha stand 02) and many other snacks. A must visit for foodies!
TSUKIJI SUSHI SAY HONTEN
There are so many sushi options at Tsukiju market. I bet almost all of them are amazing, as the seafood is super fresh. We googled a few places for sushi and we ended up here at Say Honten. We sat at the table in front of the chefs, so you can see the craft of Japanese sushi and how it is made in front of your eyes.
I have tried many kinds of ramen in my life, so I know what I am talking about. Ginza’s bowl of ramen is unique in its taste and bite. Yet again you have to face an inevitable queue (we waited 40 minutes) but it was absolutely worth it. The base of the broth tasted sensational and there is a special way to eat your ramen. You start with the base and halfway you add extra spices (ginger, vinegar, pepper) that mixes up the delicious flavor. Just writing about it makes me want to book a flight to Tokyo to just eat this bowl!
DIN TAI FUNG
Din Tai Fung is a Taiwanese dim sum restaurant that is known for their home made signature dish called ‘’xiao long bao’’. These steamed soup dumplings are served in a classic bamboo steamer. You first poke a small hole in the dumpling to let the soup come out a bit, dip it in the soy sauce with ginger, and slurp it carefully into your belly! DELICIOUS!
I love to visit appealing coffee corners whenever I am strolling around the city. In Reissue they take café latte art to the next level. I have seen coffee art for a number of times now, however seeing a cup of coffee with my face on it, no way! Can you believe this drawing of myself was made within 15 minutes? Really impressive.
Luke’s Lobster is famous for its range of seafood rolls, especially the lobster kind. We had to try out the hype around these rolls for ourselves. It was sure mouth watering! The space itself was pretty small but very cute. You can sit outside as well as it is a quick go-to bite.
The signature pancakes from Flippers are even popular overseas. The hype of Japanese style pancakes have been everywhere so I was really excited to try the original. When I talk about fluffy goodness, this is what I am talking about. With a cloud of whipped cream, it was topped with maple syrup and sweet fruit on the side. You can choose toppings as well. Love at first bite.